Friday, 07 May 2004
Trinidad & Tobago’s Alan Mew, the man who headed the project team that renovated the clubhouse at Wentworth Club in 1993, assembled a fine four under par 68 to take the first round lead in the Open de France Seniors today.

Mew, who turned professional at the Seniors Tour Qualifying School in 2002 after becoming disillusioned with the construction industry, opened up a one stroke lead from England’s David J Russell, who is making his debut on the circuit.

The Open de France Seniors is being played at Omaha Beach Golf Club, and is part of celebrations which are taking place to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of the historic “D-Day” landings.

“My claim to fame is rebuilding Wentworth Club clubhouse but I decided to give golf a go again when I’d had enough of construction,” said Mew, who is English but was born in Trinidad & Tobago.

Mew moved back permanently to England in 1984 and lives in Southampton. He first turned professional in 1978 and played on The European Tour for the next two years. In 1986 he regained his amateur status and was a regular county player for Hampshire.

“I got off to a good start on the front nine and went out in three under. It’s a nice first round but there is a lot left to do,” said Mew, who birdied all four par fives and made just one bogey.

Russell, popularly known as “DJ”, was delighted with his first round in the senior game.

“I was a bit nervous going out because of the expectation and anticipation but I managed to settle down and hit a lot of good shots. I drive the ball quite a long way so I picked up three birdies on the par fives,” said Russell, a two-time winner on The European Tour who turned 50 last Sunday.

The Englishman made one bogey which he said helped rather than hindered.

“I actually settled down after my first bogey. I three putted the third to drop a shot and that helped a bit. What I found really awkward was the concentration and trying to get back into the routine. I am really pleased with the way it has gone,” added Russell.

England’s Bob Cameron, Australians David Good and Noel Ratcliffe, and Steve Stull from the United States carded 70s.

England’s Carl Mason, who won the season-opening Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic and leads the Order of Merit, was forced to pull out before the start of the first round due to a back problem. He was hitting balls on the range and felt a twinge in his upper back.

“I had the same back problem when I was playing on The European Tour. I feel it is wise not to aggravate it. I have the whole of the season ahead of me so I will rest it a bit and hope to play very soon,” said Mason.

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